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Mission Statement: Wake Forest University Department of Anthropology

The WFU Department of Anthropology promotes understanding and appreciation of human cultural and biological diversity. Through academic courses, scholarly and applied research, and public service, the Department provides the Wake Forest community with the tools and knowledge necessary for global citizenship. Composed of scholars representing all sub-fields of anthropology, the Department serves as the premier academic and practical resource for multicultural awareness and education in the University and Winston-Salem communities, enhancing the University’s commitment to Pro Humanitate.


“Anthropology”–from the Greek anthropos (“human”) and logia (“science”)–is the scientific study of humankind, from its beginnings millions of years ago to the present day. Its subject matter is both exotic (initiation rites of the Ganda of Uganda) and commonplace (anatomy of the human hand). Its focus is both sweeping and microscopic. Anthropologists may study the environmental impact of a new industry, the folklore of West Virginia, primate disease patterns, prehistoric cultures in North Carolina, or secret societies.

A common thread links these vastly different projects. The common goal is to advance knowledge of who we are and how we came to be that way. Because the subject matter of anthropology is so broad, an undergraduate major in anthropology is part of a broad liberal arts background for students interested in any career, including law, environmental studies, government, business, international relations, medicine, and in just being a well-educated citizen.

With the current intensity of global actions and interactions and the increasing cultural diversity of our own society, anthropology becomes even more relevant to our lives. In these times of narrow specialization, anthropological study is refreshingly broad. Anthropology is traditionally divided into four subfields: linguistic anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology, and physical (biological) anthropology.

The Department of Anthropology at Wake Forest includes all four subfields, as well as a focus on the practical application of the knowledge we generate in solving real world problems, known as applied anthropology.
  • WFU Anthropology on Facebook

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    Wake Forest University Anthropology Department
    Graduating Senior Jack Portman (2021) will present his Honors Thesis research this Wed, April 14, 2021 at 2:00 pm in the Anthropology Department Conference Room.The title of his work is “All You Can Holler About is Rent: The Politics and Precarities of Housing in East Winston.”All Anthropology students and faculty are welcome to join on Zoom. If you are a Junior interested in earning departmental honors, you may want to attend so that you know what to expect from an Honors project defense.For more information, see the attached flyer or contact Jack directly. Or DM for zoom link! ... See MoreSee Less
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    Tonight at 8 pm EST, chat with four WFU Anthro Alumni about their experiences in graduate school and tips for our current students contemplating grad school. To register: ... See MoreSee Less
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